Tuesday saw a record number of weddings, even if it had not a work day. According to the Los Angeles Times, 3,320 couples tied the knot in contrast to the 371 on the second Tuesday of November last year. That’s because brides, looking for a way to make their wedding stand out from all the rest, seized on the date:11-12-13.
Now if any one of them had been wearing the orange diamond that was auctioned at Christie’s that afternoon, she’d really have had a reason to stand out, a record-and if her groom had been able to afford such an engagement ring, she’d have married an extremely wealthy man. The winning bid was $36 Million. That’s $35,540,000 to be precise
The rare South African diamond broke the world record for price of an orange diamond as well as price per carat for a colored diamond. Again, for the sake of precision that comes out to $2,400,000 per carat! The color pink had held the previous record. The Vivid Pink Diamond took the auctioneer’s gavel with a winning bid of $2.15 million in 2009.So what makes this orange beauty so special? It’s weight for one thing. Tipping the scales at an extraordinary 14.82 carats, it topped the last auctioned orange diamond by eight carats.
Okay, the famed ring Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor may have weighed 33 carats but it wasn’t orange! Orange diamonds, let alone deep orange ones like this, termed fire diamonds, are extremely rare in nature. This one is so fiery-orange, that the Gemological Institute of America bestowed upon it its highest rating, Fancy Vivid.
Carat, it’s one of those words that we bandy about as in, “Three carats, that’s quite a ring” when, in reality, we may not a clue what a carat is or why it makes one diamond more valuable than another. For the record, a carat is a measure of weight and its derivation stretches back to ancient times when the weight of a gem was expressed in comparison to that of a carob bean. One carat is equal to 1/5 of a gram or 200 milligrams.
As for the correlation of carat to value, we harken to the expression, “A diamond in the rough.” Like all minerals, diamonds exist in the ground as rough “rocks” A lot of cutting and polishing goes into producing a finished gemstone from what is known as rough. Sizeable pieces of rough are quite rare, meaning tens of thousands of pieces of rough must be mined before one is found large enough to produce a finished diamond weighing one carat.
Why is a colored diamond more valuable than a white one? Because they’re accidents of nature, starting out as white but undergoing some sort of catalytic change. White diamonds that meet radioactivity turn green. Blue diamonds have met boron, and yellow diamond get their color from nitrogen. So why is orange so expensive? Because it’s rare squared; rare for a yellow diamond, already rare, to turn orange.
As for the new owner of the orange diamond, he left Christie’s to a round of applause, his identity unknown. But like the new brides and grooms, 11-12-13 he’ll always remember 11-12-13.